Previews & Story Work

Here are some quick previews of some things I'm working on in between my finishing my thesis backgrounds this month.  I'm trying to develop some work for a Story Portfolio so I'm actually trying to turn this stuff into a bit more finished looking work than my normal sketchbook pages--if I still like the drawings & ideas when I look at them by the light of day that is!  

Here's one I still liked:

These were some sketches of me trying to explain the merits of stage acting v. film acting (and why Stage & B&W films are better!) to Matt, who wasn't buying it--I'm gonna say I won that argument (Matt may still not agree with me :-p).  And the top sketches are what happened when I Matt came to watch Abominable Bride with me--I was SUPER excited & he was well...asleep ..or bored I'm not sure which--something about not getting the 'hype over Benedict Cumberbatch' ....maybe if he'd stayed awake he'd understand ;-p.

Link Round Up

I'm going to start posting helpful links that I find periodically on the blog.  They could be anything from artistic tips, how to stay motivated in animation or art school or what I like to call 'animation theory' --or how we go about thinking about  making good scenes and characters.  I hope you find them equally as interesting & helpful!

  • On Fear for the Future and Navigating the Animation World After School Aron Shay -- Excellent, candid and honest answer to an ask about fear and going from school to the real world, good advice and inspiring for anyone struggling to find their place in animation after school--keep going!
  • Animation Practice, Process and Thoughts  Mike Nguyen -- This whole blog is filled with 'animation theory' about how he takes ideas and actions and turns them into living, breathing characters.  Seriously so helpful, if you're struggled to think about animation the right way, follow this blog to learn and be reminded how we're supposed to think when animating.
  • Love Thy Rock Mark Manson -- Not necessarily art related but struggle and passion and finding the thing that you should be doing in life and for a living by looking at what you want to struggle for rather than what you want to become good at--enjoy the process & the struggle 'Love Thy Rock' (inside joke from WHS AP core and an existentialist essay on Sisyphus)
  • Walt Disney Documentary PBS -- An excellent look into the life of Walt Disney and how he built his company, it feels like a balanced look at him and his life and shows the power of perseverance in the face of defeat--innovation comes from trying stuff and sometimes that stuff just doesn't work--Walt was okay with that :)
  • Kelley McMorris Blog Kelley McMorris -- full of beautiful art, process and thoughts on being a working illustrator--an excellent blog and resource! (Her blog gave me the idea for this post and how to revive my blog a bit :)--thanks!)

Adventures in Sac

This was a long and fun break from work--my younger sister came to visit me and we went on some pretty strange & awesome adventures.  Below was our first adventure --we decided to take a trip out to 'Rancho Seco' which is a recreation area around a decommissioned nuclear power plant just outside of Sacramento.


It was an eerily creepy area that definitely suited the location & history of the place!

For some reason we didn't think that it would be very far outside of the city so we spent the drive up joking about how weird, creepy, & lonely that road was --it looked like just the type of road people are murdered on in horror films (or creepy crime dramas--my favorite!) which only made the trip more fun.  When we got there it turns out it was a legit-managed recreation area (and by that I mean we had to pay $10 bucks to go in).  We ended up wandering a nice trail around a lake where several people were fishing & camping.

 It wasn't so creepy, except for the looming nuclear silos in the background--ahh nature! We have a weird sense of humor so we named it 'Sac-Chernobyl' & joked about glowing in the dark (although it was shut down as a precaution in the '80s and not be cause of an accident--but that makes a much less interesting story).


Here are the original sketches from my sketchbook--I fixed them up a bit but not much (I'm still figuring out drawing into Photoshop so right now the its easier to draw in my sketch book)--more to come! Happy Holidays!

Great Goddess

Goddess_arankin My mythology course required a sketch this week as commentary on the Great Goddess.  The topic was pretty interesting and discussed how at one time we saw many contradictory aspects in the Goddess and how it is an ancient idea that we lost with time and changing perceptions of women.  The contradictory nature of the Goddess traits made me think of the emotions in Pixar's Inside Out because I was struck by how well rounded and dynamic the original version of the Goddess was--she represented motherhood & sexuality, civilization & nature, and tradition & transformation (the character I drew is also representing 'clairvoyance' which in this article went a long with transformation).  That is just a few of the traits that She embodied.

For the drawing part of this--I tried to get my sketch to show more character and not be 'just a pretty picture' as I'm often critiqued for.   I don't think I've quite nailed that yet so I'll have to give it another go in my next illustration/sketch--remember--specific characters Amber, specific characters with specific emotions/thoughts/etc!!


Warm ups -- Turns Out They're Kind of Important

Its been a pretty intense couple of weeks (midterms + my thesis have made me a bit crazy!) but I thought I'd make a post of some of the sketches I've been working on.

Recently I've started doing warm up drawings pretty regularly. I used to do them occasionally when I felt like I 'had time' but it wasn't a normal part of my drawing practice.  I knew that warm-up drawings were 'good for you' but I never really understood what is was you got out of them until just now.  For me they're a way to get out all my 'bad ideas' and 'bad drawings' so that I can start stiff and get looser and get lost in making an idea rather than just shapes or a 'pretty picture' (my most dreaded and most often told critique!!)  They also help on days when I'm feeling exhausted and pretty inspired--I can turn on a quick show and just draw sort of whatever comes to mind--like pictures of me drinking coffee or looking tired or scenes from books I've been reading or weird ideas and concepts I see on Tumblr. I'm learning that my best ideas are definitely NOT my first and often I'm not even sure what I want to do on my first drawing but they get better as I go...So far I think it might also be helping my animation --which has gotten more loose at the beginning and I feel like I can more confidently get my poses right or at least work on them until the ARE right.  So more warm-ups it is! :)

When you need to loosen up...

When you need to loosen up apparently you need need to draw on a bumby train--here's a few sketches from my train ride home last night.  Usually the train is bouncy and too annoying to write or draw but the internet wasn't working so I started trying to get more into story and character in a few sketches--some sketches are of me on a train, and from a medieval book I keep trying to read and a myth we just read for my mythology class--pretty fun! I'll have to make a habit out of this.

Hopefully  I'll be able to turn a couple of them into Inktobers and catch up tonight!

Inktober 02

Tonight I got a little bit carried away with my inktober sketch and worked on it way too long on it, but I'm pretty happy with the result. :)  Maybe its the creepy ads for a Victorian horror film that keep playing on my Hulu but focused on the creepy other worldly side of the Victorian era this time!

Here's the photograph that inspired it--old photographs--so creepy, so cool!

Inktober 1

Inktober 01 I've decided to participate in Inktober this year, or at least attempt to anyway.  My plan is to make some kind of quick sketch each evening in October and focus on character and storytelling.  For tonight's sketch--I follow several Victorian and Edwardian image blogs on Tumblr and the people often look so solemn but a few photographs showed glimpses of real people and so I tried to capture a 'behind the scenes' version of Victorian photography subjects--no one can be that serious all the time!--I think I could explore this idea more and want to see where it ends up at the end of the month!

For tonight I'm just breaking into it after much animation on the same scenes so I think the idea could use some improvement--but for tonight--this is my Inktober #1 -- enjoy :)

You can find my reference photo here.  (Can we still dress like this?!!??)

Blog Reboot


Good morning, its about 6:30 am and I'm already on my second cup of coffee--it seems like its going to be a million cup of coffee kind of day! If you've been following this blog for a while now you might have noticed that its gone dormant in the last few months --years-- I'm sorry, that wasn't my intent but I was transitioning from a post-undergrad struggling to find a way to make a living in art into a graduate student attempting to pursue a rigorous animation program, work full time and maintain my sanity--the jury is still out on whether or not that's been a success.

I'm in my last year of graduate school (hopefully) and trying my best to learn, understand and practice animation. I've come a long way over the last five years (I'm part time) but as is the purpose of graduate school--I never feel like I've come quite far enough, given quite enough time or quite grasped the concepts. This blog is going to serve going forward a place to collect my thoughts on animation process, practice and films in general as well as a look into the life of a working grad student--a reality that is becoming so much more commonplace as schools develop programs that make doing both easier but 'real life' never seems to want to cooperate.

In addition to needing a place to put my animation thoughts I was also inspired by a fellow artist/designer looking to find her place in the art world--Anne-- I love reading her blog and seeing how she navigates her transition into designer.  Also the lettering is beautiful and something I'd aspire to if I had that kind of patience.

Back in Action

I finally finished my semester! It was an extremely difficult semester full of sleep deprivation and animation but its over!! I am back at work in my studio after only a couple of days break because I have a show at the Red Dot Gallery in Sacramento on February 9th and I'd like to show some new work--here's a sneak peak at what I've been doing--more sketches to come soon!

I'm trying to develop a process for painting and on work on these few in the same way for each one--What I've been doing is drawing a very detailed image, tracing the image on to vellum with a pen and doing an image transfer to get it to the canvass--I want my new paintings to have more volume and shape so I'm working for create a strong under painting in sepia before doing the details--hopefully it all pays off!